THE story of Talmont and their unification seems like something…
readymade for the small screen. In an age where so many bands are manufactured and have very little fascination; the South East London trio have ounces of appeal and personality. The guys met whilst studying at Goldsmiths (for degrees in Popular Music) and, although possessed of disparate tastes, went on to form a solid and hugely affectionate bond. Wilt is their latest effort and one I was keen to get to the bottom of. Jules, Martha and Joe discuss the reasons behind their brother-sister bond and what the music scene is like in New Cross (where they are based). The trio has been compared to Radiohead and Massive Attack; gained coverage from BBC Radio 6 Music and gathered a huge reputation. Martha and Joe, aged nineteen, had a chance meeting with successful YouTube channel and label, Ont’ Sofa. From there, it seemed like a perfect marriage…
Talmont talk about what they have coming up and the sounds and albums that have inspired them. I was curious about the trio’s moniker and how that came to be; what advice they would offer any songwriters emerging and how their songs come together.
Hi, guys. How are you? How have your weeks been?
Jules: We’re good, thank you. It’s been a busy one! Our new single, Wilt, was released a few weeks ago and we’re already gearing up for the next one – alongside plenty of rehearsing for the new live show.
For those new to your music, can you introduce yourselves, please?
Martha: Well. We’re a three-piece based in South East London who met whilst studying Goldsmiths’ Popular Music degree. Our sound is a combination of samples and synths with live drums, guitars and vocals.
We like to keep it very open-ended, though, and are constantly changing our approach.
Take me back to the beginning and how you three got together? When was the moment Talmont came together?
Joe: We just decided to organise a rehearsal during our second year. We’d become very close friends since moving to London so the idea of making music together came very naturally.
I’m interested in the band name. What was the inspiration behind the name ‘Talmont’?
Martha: Talmont is actually this tiny seaside village in South West France. My family bought a property nearby there when I was little to renovate so I used to go there all the time. It’s super-atmospheric and feels pretty cut off from the rest of the world.
Around the beginning of the band, the three of us were writing for a songwriting project at uni and I couldn’t get the setting of Talmont out my mind…the mood of the song just completely reminded me of the place.
I mentioned it to Joe and Jules and it instantly clicked with us. Sometimes we get mistakenly tagged by tourists visiting the village on our Facebook. The actual town likes some of our posts sometimes as well, which is quite nice!
It seems like you have a brother-sister-brother bond. Do you all have very similar tastes in music or does it differ quite a bit?
Joe: Yeah. We’re all incredibly close – which really helps with making music together. Interestingly, our music tastes do seem to vary quite considerably outside of the band but I think that’s quite important for variety in the music we make together.
Who are the musicians you grew up to and are influenced by today?
Martha: I’m massively into strong female artists and think I have always have been most influenced by them. I think there’s something really inspirational about women who make and are in control of their own craft. A lot of my earliest childhood memories are of female artists. As a baby, I’d only fall asleep if my dad played me C’mon Billy by PJ Harvey – which is funny as it’s a pretty confrontational song! At the moment, I still love listening to Solange’s latest album which is absolutely incredible.
Wilt is your new (second) single. What can you reveal about its themes and sound?
Martha: Wilt takes a bit of a different direction to our debut single. Whilst we were writing, we were experimenting with a lot of new equipment so expect quite a different sound-world.
It explores the feeling of losing control and uses a lot of imagery surrounding colour.
We wanted to make something quite relatable lyric-wise, so, hopefully, we’ve achieved that.
Can we expect to see a Talmont E.P. coming in 2017?
Joe: We can’t reveal too much regarding an E.P. yet but definitely expect a lot of new music coming in the next few months!
On a similar note; are there any tour dates in the coming months at all?
Martha: Likewise, there’s not too much we can reveal yet but there’s some summer festival dates coming up! We’ll keep you posted.
How do songs come together for you? Does one person bring in lyrics – music placed on top – or is it a collaborative effort?
Jules: What we all enjoy so much about this project is how collaborative the process is. Recently, we’ve been working increasingly from a sample starting point – which is a great way of setting the mood to a track and giving you some boundaries. Following that, Martha will often work on a chord sequence or Joe will compose a bass line and we’ll all just muck in from there.
We’re not too precious about writing our own parts individually either and so will often write each other’s bits.
New Cross is where you are based out of. What is the scene like there and how does it differ to other parts of London?
Joe: The South East London music scene is fantastic to be a part of. It has a real community feel to it and there’s so much to be a part of.
Following graduating, most people we know have stuck around in the area so we’re surrounded by friends that are doing really interesting things…whether that be running record labels, hosting their own nights or performing locally on a regular basis.
How influential are London and its people when it comes to creating music?
Jules: London’s a really special place to be creating music in. It’s such a varied and vibrant city and there’s inspiration lurking in every corner. With it being the place that we all met and grew into adulthood together. I think it will undoubtedly have a massive impact on our music.
If you each had to select the album that has meant the most to you; which would they be and why?
Martha: Blue by Joni Mitchell is an all-time favourite of mine. I’ve loved Joni Mitchell for as long as I can remember and, throughout her career, I think she’s always been incredible. But, the lyrics in that album are especially moving to me.
Jules: One of my definite all-time favourites has got to be Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir’s Like A Ship…(Without a Sail). It’s a classic Gospel album that Light in the Attic Records reissued a few years ago with such a unique sound and style. It remains the most uplifting music I’ve ever heard and just blows my mind every time I hear it.
Joe: Skream’s self-titled album has definitely left a lasting impact on me personally and certainly influenced my own approach to music whilst I was growing up.
When my brother first played me it, I was overwhelmed by the sounds on that record.
I’d not heard anything like it before and it introduced me to a whole new world of music.
Who are the new artists you recommend we investigate?
Joe: There’s an artist called Midas The Cloud who makes incredible and completely unique music. He’s a friend of ours and his live set is something else.
Our label-buddy Scott Quinn is also making waves at the moment. He’s a super-talented guy and an amazing songwriter.
Have you any advice for songwriters coming through at the moment?
Martha: Well, the main bit of advice that worked for me is just to make music for yourself. So many people make music trying to sound like someone else or to fit into a certain scene that they think is cool.
The most important thing is staying true to yourself and just writing what comes naturally to you. It’ll end up being way better.
Finally, and for being good sports, you can each select any song you like and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Martha: I’m going to go for Bonzai’s I Did. Massive synths, super-cool vocals with a wicked animated video to match.
Jules: I love Ibibio Sound Machine’s new album and the new single from that, Give Me a Reason, is amazing. I was lucky enough to interview this lot a while ago at their studios in Camberwell. This is probably the most infectious thing I’ve heard in a long time.
Joe: I’ve been playing 808INK’s stuff on repeat at the moment. Crooked .Bad is a solid-gold hit.
PHOTO CREDIT: Harvey Pearson